I am trying to determine how appropriate TeX is to use for the purpose of a fixed-size publication that may be published on a periodic basis.

For example, a weekly flyer of size 8.5"x11". Each week there are some reoccurring features on the page (dates to remember, contact information, etc), but there are also some information that changes every week. Additionally the amount of information may vary (you may need to be creative to figure out how to cram it in).

Currently, a publishing program is used (like Microsoft Publisher) or just MS Word. These programs can make it easy to see what you are going to end up with (so you can adjust/balance white space, etc), but it requires a bit of fussing.

Would one be any better off with a TeX option? What would be harder and what would be easier? Pointers to discussion on the subject would be welcomed.


One thing in particular that I am trying to understand is how you deal with text filling up a fixed size area in TeX? For example, say you have a box on your page that lists upcoming events. How do you deal with the formatting when say, you have so many upcoming events that the box needs to be resized and/or the text needs to be smaller? Is this rule based or do you need to manually adjust/parameterize your template each time you update the contents?

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    I imagine you're going to need a bit of fussing no matter what system you use. I'm inclined to think that you're better off with whatever you're currently using. Are there any specific issues you would hope could be resolved be switching to TeX? – Charles Staats Oct 2 '13 at 11:55
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    Reducing the time spent adjusting / fussing. If the layout could be more rule-based instead of solely on how it looks that may help. – Josh Oct 2 '13 at 12:00

TeX would enable automation or semi-automation of the typesetting by creating a template that you fill in. If you have some little background in programming, then you will probably save a lot of time and hassle once you template is ready.

If you like to do things with your mouse and that you do not have a really standard layout then TeX is not so obvious.

Is your layout very exotic or can it be easily decomposed into boxes? Complex layout are possible with TeX but may require some practice.

Are satisfied with the final result you obtain with your current method? If not, TeX may be one way among others to make things look better.

Do you have some time to invest into learning TeX? Do you think this knowledge could serve you for some other purposes? The answer to the latter question is almost certainly “yes” if you do write things for others to read from time to time. The answer to the former is a crucial one. Most TeX user will tell you that learning TeX is fun and rewarding but there are also people who never get to really use it. Again, if you already used some programming or markup language, then you should definitely give it a try.

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